Pharrell Williams’ Creative Vision Remains Unchanged
For Pharrell Williams, the Billionaire Boys Club founder and musical genius has come a long way since The Neptunes. The multifaceted creative is much more than simply the music producer and rapper he began his career as. Pharrell has proved himself to be a creative enigma over the last decade, and now it appears that there’s absolutely no slowing down as project after project aims to continually push the boundaries. The New York Times spoke highly of his creative vision in a recent article with a small excerpt below.
As he approaches 40, Mr. Williams, artist and superproducer, is having the opposite of a midlife career crisis. In addition to an ever-expanding roster of singers and songwriters with whom he collaborates (recent examples include Justin Bieber, Frank Ocean and Conor Maynard), his services are increasingly sought by corporations to remix their product designs. Since announcing in May that he is restructuring all of his creative endeavors under a single umbrella company, called I Am Other, Mr. Williams might as well have put out a “for hire” sign.
A luxury department store wants him to guest-curate its shoe department. Timberland wants him to make boots. A company in Pennsylvania wants him to promote boat covers using eco-friendly textiles produced by Bionic Yarn, yet another company in which he is a partner. He is pursuing deals, still in the exploratory stages, for dog leashes and maternity wear. He already makes bicycles with Brooklyn Machine Works that are almost entirely covered in leather.
And on Monday, Us Weekly reported that Mr. Williams is in talks to join “American Idol” as a judge. “It amazes me that he has all of these broad interests, and fashion is just one of them,” said Kevin Harter, the men’s fashion director at Bloomingdale’s, which this month will introduce a high-end label from Mr. Williams called Bee Line, designed with Mark McNairy, the indie men’s-wear darling.
The products are great — camouflage jackets and streetwear with an amusing hunting motif — but what really sold Bloomingdale’s, Mr. Harter said, was the lack of any sense of boundaries as to what a celebrity-branded product could be. At one point, during the filming of a promotional video, Mr. Williams improbably put on a beekeeper’s hat. “I couldn’t believe he was letting us shoot this,” Mr. Harter said.